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Fri, Nov 11, 2011

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Military in Action: Saluting Monster’s Veteran Voices With Jeff Quinn

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Here at Monster, hiring veterans is more than a best practice – it’s a value we live every day. 

That’s why this Veterans’ Day, we’re featuring the veteran voices of some of our own leaders who have transitioned from the military to the civilian workforce – and how their military experience is helping Monster, and its customers, win the war for talent:

Jeff Quinn is the Global Senior Director on the Monster Insights team – a team responsible for all of the data that makes up our Monster Employment Index (MEI), and our just-released Veterans Talent Index, among many other human capital research initiatives and projects.

Jeff served almost 7 years in active duty in the US Air Force as well as another year and a half as a reservist.  We took a few minutes out of Jeff’s day to talk a little bit more about how he leverages the skills and experience he gained while serving in the military and how he applies these lessons to his job today:

MonsterThinking: How have your years of service to the Air Force shaped how you approach your job today?

Jeff Quinn: Much of the research work that I do requires strict attention to detail which is a trait that many in the military learn. When in the military, it is important for many job functions to focus on the details of the work at hand.

By establishing documentation and adhering to processes, the military helps its members with such detail-oriented work.  The same holds true for many jobs outside of the military where strict process documentation and attention to detail can be important to one’s success.

The reliance of documentation and adhering to strict processes allows many military members to perform well under pressure.

By bringing these aspects into my job today, I try to remain focused on the task at hand by relying on many of the skills learned while in the military.

MonsterThinking: What qualities do you look for in your team, overall?

Jeff Quinn: Teamwork: Overall, I look for a “we” mentality in members of my team. It’s the very premise of what teamwork is all about.  While it is important to have solid individual contributors and there are times when specific members of the team will shine, I am not looking for someone who is only out for themselves.

In the end, it’s about getting the job done as a team, not just seeking out individual praise for individual contributions.

Leadership: Most people think of stereotypical great leaders when they hear someone is looking for “leadership qualities” in members of a team.  As we know, not everyone has these skills or has the desire to manage a team.

So, I’m not looking for every person on my team to be able to lead others or manage a team.  Rather, I am looking for team members that can be a great leader of their own projects.

This type of leadership has more to do with individual confidence and an ability to think through how their project is the right solution for the overall business.

The type of research work we do involves a lot of time spent thinking through the best approach for the business need. Members of the team are often tasked with different aspects of research projects and I need each person to lead their project (or part of the project) with confidence which includes sharing their recommendations with confidence.

That confidence comes from believing in their approach, putting in the time to make sure the details are accurate, and then bringing their best recommendation forward.

Integrity: I look for someone I can trust.  It is important that I can trust members of the team to be true to the overall team, representing the entire department well. This also involves maintaining integrity as it relates to the projects we do.

Loyal and passionate: And finally, I look for someone who is both loyal to the cause and passionate about the work they’re doing.  If they don’t embody both of these qualities, it’s probably not a good fit.

MonsterThinking: What advice do you have for employers looking to tap into veteran talent?

Jeff Quinn: Obviously, the skills translation issue is a big one. It might seem obvious, but a certain title or rank in the military often doesn’t “mean” much to a corporate recruiter. At least it might not at first glance. I think it’s important that companies look beyond what’s on a veteran’s resume and look at the whole person.

Some of the skills taught in the military, like leadership and decision-making skills (often made amid very high-pressure situations), may make that veteran one of the next leaders in your company. They might not have the hard, tangible skills that traditional candidates for the job might possess, but some soft skills – like integrity or passion for the job –shouldn’t be overlooked.

Employers should also consider what kind of brand ambassador a military veteran could bring to their organization. Many that join the military join because they want to serve their country. They have a sense of pride, duty and honor that they carry with them even after transitioning out of service. It’s that passion for the job and the company that could make that veteran employee one of the best internal champions of an employer’s brand.

It’s a good opportunity for employers to use this pool of talent to help champion the company, improve company culture and boost morale.

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